Friday, December 3, 2010

Government Affairs: Local, State, Federal issues

On Friday, December 3Rd, the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce hosted a Government Affairs meeting, sponsored by Rockwell Collins. Robin Tucker, Realtor® with Tommy Tucker Realty Co. was among the attendees.

Several local state legislators were in attendance, as a room full of Chamber members, city and county elected officials had a conversation on the upcoming 2011 Legislative Session in Iowa, as well as local priorities and/or concerns.

  • A review of the 2010 election, where a new governor (GOP) was elected, 60 GOP (22 new GOP members) to 40 DEM in the House and 26 DEM/24 GOP in the Senate

  • One question asked, how should one best contact you as a member of the Legislature? Which led to an interesting conversation on the importance of building "relationships" whether discussing politics or in any aspect of life or business

  • Flood mitigation (walls/levies) and upstream retention was discussed

  • Concerns over Iowa's current property tax system, especially the impact on commercial/industrial taxes

  • Home rule and the City of Cedar Rapids' need for more revenue steams

  • Future of Vision Iowa

  • Parking garage for new Federal court house - funding sources for the City?

  • How will Cedar Rapids fund flood mitigation (walls/levies) - proposed bill and using Sales Tax revenue, similar to the City of Newton in it's recovery, after Maytag moved out

  • Raising the hotel/motel tax from 7% to 9% - goal of local visitor's bureau

  • The local visitor's bureau commented that 70% of the visitors to our area are from out of state - study concluded

  • Frustration of State Government - 99 counties, lack of accountability and/or innovation, number of school districts and reason for the outcome of the 2010 elections ...

It was an interesting 90 minutes or less. Five members of the Linn County delegation in Des Moines were present. House members: Nick Wagner, Tyler Olson, Renee Schulte and Kraig Paulsen. Senate member: Rob Hogg was present

Sen. Hogg indicated he had one priority in 2011 for upcoming session: flood mitigation and upstream retention. All five members in attendance were re-elected in 2010. It is likely Rep. Paulsen will be the next Speaker of the House in the Iowa Legislature. The house was previously 56 DEM/46 GOP prior to the 2010 elections.

After the Realtor Government Affairs breakfast on Wednesday with the same five legislators, it was interesting to view the discussion at the Chamber event.


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